It’s a frigid November night in Wisconsin, and people across the country are gathering around fireplaces and TVs to watch the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. At legendary Lambeau Field, the ESPN cast and crew is getting ready to go live.
I was part of the ESPN crew for that game. I received a great opportunity from a professor who told me ESPN needed some help. I thought it would be a great chance to get connected with ESPN which could, potentially, open doors down the road. I didn’t just say yes I said, “Hell Yes!”
We met at the massive, TV trailer parking lot in the south end zone of Lambeau; all the big broadcasters had their trailers parked there including NFL Network, Fox Sports, ESPN and others. Waiting to check in, some of the ESPN cast including NFL greats Randy Moss, Matt Hasselbeck and Charles Woodson walked past and jumped into golf carts and drove off to get dressed for the pre-game show.
They call me Mr. Jib
We checked in, picked up our credentials and my ESPN field vest. I was assigned to work on the field with a camera crew. My job included helping the camera crews with cord coiling and helping with the hand-held cameras. In addition, I was assigned one of the most important jobs on the field: The JIB.
I was the guy who had to make sure the JIB camera was not touched, bumped, shaken or jostled by the hordes of people moving around the crowded sidelines before the game. The pre-game show on ESPN is live – and it was “my” camera that determined if the show would look shaky – or not. The pressure was on; I didn’t want to disappoint the millions of fans watching me at home. I did NOT want my first national exposure to be shaky!
After a “Shake Free” Pre-Game Show, my crew had to quickly dismantle the large, cumbersome set. All five cameras needed to be moved within a tight, five-minute time frame. The kickoff would be happening at that same time we were moving the set and if we screwed up, we’d be big safety hazard -and a huge liability – for ESPN. The pressure was on.
After we moved everything – without a hitch – I got a break until five minutes left in the first half. I stayed on the sidelines with my credentials and ESPN vest and watched the game, but I was on the Lions sidelines and am NOT a big fan. It was a cool perspective, though; I’ve never seen professional football game at ground level.
Came off without a hitch
As halftime approached, we got ready to quickly assemble/disassemble another set. The halftime set is much smaller because it must be assembled with very little time on the clock. We had to seamlessly put it in place – along with all cameras and the lights. Then, we had to quickly tear it quickly down before the second half kickoff. It was stressful, but we again pulled it off without a hitch.
After the game, things were not as stressful as they were at kickoff and at halftime. ESPN’s postgame show is produced using handheld cameras, so no sets were needed. However, cleanup of all the cameras and equipment and both sets had to be moved back into the tunnels where they would be picked up later by the trucks.
It was really cool to see how a live television show is put together. It was incredible to see the amount of work necessary to put on a good show for the millions of fans tuning in to Monday Night Football. Next time I’m one of those people watching my beloved Packers from the comfort of my Man Cave, I will have a much better appreciation for all the hard work and dedication the crew puts in – so it’s not a shaky show.
A TYPO? Did you spot a typo or grammatical error in this story? PLEASE report it NOW to The Grammar Police so we can fix it before a potential employer – or one of our parents – sees it and busts us! Report it: HERE! Thank you 🙂